Took long to come up with an article because I was so wallowed in on ideas and I couldn’t pick one that was so personal to me. Here’s one.
At the age of 8, I was already a class monitress in what at the time was called kindergarten, I was in a foreign country with little to no knowledge of their language and what I should do with being a class representative. At that time, I couldn’t tell why I was always chosen to be among the leaders and why of all the children in my class it had to be me. But come to think of it now, it clicked that I was always forthcoming when it came to asking questions and always eager to learn, that I actually aroused the teachers’ interest in me. From that time on, even when we left the country and came back home, I have always been curious to learn new ways around life, around everything and that I believe that made me have a sharp mind, my goal was to be more informed.
My friends have always been a year or two older and I never felt like I’m jumping levels. You could say my IQ was at their level and not with my age mates. Little did I know that I was creating a problem for me that would most likely intimidate or be perceived unwelcome in a society that expects the girl child/women to be less informed or opinionated. What if my intention was none of the above, but to simply be heard? Long story short, to this time, among my friends, and in my relationships, I’m always given the eye because I’m forward and eloquent with sharing opinions, sentiments and with boldness. Either I’m told , “you are strong-willed, a hard hand, opinionated” et cetera. And that a woman should tone down and maybe not speak up to avoid being named and placed in all sorts of disgraceful categories.
In Rwandan cultural setting much less Muslim backgrounds, a woman is expected to lower her gaze and not to share her thoughts as it’s simply not acceptable by the society and religious standards. I’m glad that I work for myself which allows me to make decisions. I would say this is the only place my opinion is respected and I feel in tune with my whole true persona.